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Biology

Good Vibrations

An interview with Rex Cocroft, Assistant Professor of Biology

MU biologist Rex Cocroft studies communication, something crucial to life at many levels, as it occurs within a cell, between cells, and between organisms within social groups. "Once we reach the level of communication between individuals," waxes Cocroft, "not only is there the fascinating intellectual challenge of studying communication, but there is also this tremendous aesthetic appeal…. The signals themselves are often beautiful—the songs of whales, the colors of butterfly wings, the scents of flowers." His first calling was that of a musician, so it's perhaps no surprise that Cocroft was drawn to this aspect of biology, and no accident that he enjoys being at MU. "I love it here [in Missouri] in the late summer," he says, "when the katydids and the cicadas are out and there's this din of calling insects."

Of Maize and Mutants

An interview with Karen Cone, Professor of Biological Sciences

Doing maize genetics, according to one geneticist, is “really cool.” It is exactly this kind of enthusiasm that fuels Karen Cone, Professor of Biological Sciences at MU, who specializes in plant genetics. Asked to summarize what researchers in her field actually do, Cone laughs and responds, “Geneticists make mutants…a geneticist learns about the way something works in real life by screwing it up, trying to figure out what’s wrong with the mutant, and then inferring what is normal when the mutant isn’t there.” The mutants that Cone makes involve corn and purple pigmentation.

Satellite Cell Exploration

An interview with Dawn Cornelison, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Dawn Cornelison is on a mission to counteract the effects of aging, the effects of muscular dystrophy, and other neuromuscular diseases. The assistant professor of Biological Sciences must first find answers to the crucial questions regarding the robust nature of muscle regeneration.

Collaborating for Conservation

An interview with Lori Eggert, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

For Associate Professor of Biology Lori Eggert, collaboration is at the heart of everything she does. From local to international projects, and even within her lab, collaboration is invaluable. Dr. Eggert’s life and research are a testament to the amazing feats that can be accomplished with coordinated, hard work from many different, devoted sources.

Seeking to Understand Chemotherapy Resistance

An interview with Stephen and Hannah Alexander, of the Alexander Lab

Doctors Steve and Hannah Alexander, the duo behind the Alexander Lab, have spent the past 26 years at the University of Missouri. The Alexander Lab, founded in 1987, focused on developmental biology until the late nineties. Since then, the lab has studied DNA repair and drug resistance in cancer cells. With their current work, they hope to contribute to our ability to successfully treat cancers of all types, by providing insights into the biological process by which tumors develop resistance to anticancer drugs.